The 1920s is the decade in which fashion entered the modern era. It was the decade in which women first abandoned the more restricting fashions of past years and began to wear more comfortable clothes (such as short skirts or trousers).
Men also abandoned highly formal daily fotire and even began to wear athletic clothing for the first time. The suits men wear today are still based, for the most part, on those worn in the late 1920s.
The 1920s are characterized by two distinct periods of fashion. In the early part of the decade, change was slow, as many were reluctant to adopt new styles. From 1925, the public passionately embraced the styles associated with the Roaring Twenties. These styles continue to characterize fashion until early in 1932.
Roaring Twenties is a term sometimes used to refer to the 1920s in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, characterizing the decade’s distinctive cultural edge in New York City, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, London, and many other major cities during a period of sustained economic prosperity.
French speakers called it the “années folles” (“Crazy Years”), emphasizing the era’s social, artistic, and cultural dynamism. “Normalcy” returned to politics in the wake of hyper-emotional patriotism after World War I, jazz music blossomed, the flapper redefined modern womanhood, and Art Deco peaked.
Economically, the era saw the large-scale diffusion and use of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, and electricity, unprecedented industrial growth, accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, and significant changes in lifestyle and culture.
The media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars, as cities rooted for their home team and filled the new palatial cinemas and gigantic stadiums. In most major countries women won the right to vote for the first time. Finally the Wall Street Crash of 1929 ended the era, as the Great Depression set in worldwide, bringing years of worldwide gloom and hardship
The spirit of the Roaring Twenties was marked by a general feeling of discontinuity associated with modernity and a break with traditions. Everything seemed to be feasible through modern technology.
New technologies, especially automobiles, moving pictures and radio proliferated ‘modernity’ to a large part of the population. Formal decorative frills were shed in favor of practicality in both daily life and architecture. At the same time, jazz and dancing rose in popularity, in opposition to the mood of the specter of World War I. As such, the period is also often referred to as the Jazz Age.
Immortalized in movies and magazine covers, young women’s fashion of the 1920s was both a trend and cum social statement, a breaking-off from the rigid Victorian way of life. These young, rebellious, middle-class women, labeled ‘flappers’ by older generations, did away with the corset and donned slinky knee-length dresses, which exposed their legs and arms.
Cosmetics, which until the 1920s were not typically accepted in American society because of their association with prostitution, became, for the first time, extremely popular.
Before the 20’s make up was done in secrecy and few women wore it. However, in the 20’s things changed. Women no longer went to the powder room to apply make up, but applied out in the open. They also applied a lot more make up than the previous era. The most popular lipstick color was Ox Blood and rouge. Now compacts from this era are in great demand among relic collecters.
The hairstyle of the decade was a chin-length bob, of which there were several popular variations.
As for jewelry, women typically wore long beaded necklaces, art deco pieces, pins, rings and brooches. Not only that but horned-rimmed glasses were also popular.
Coco Chanel, born Gabriel Chanel, is considered a “leading lady”‘ when it comes to twenties fashion. The designs she created resembled the silhouettes of flapper fashion. Other fashion designers at the time were proclaimed outdated because of their clothing collection with fashion from the 1910’s
Coco Chanel embraced flapper in her clothing collection, as well as in in her personal fashionstyle Coco ususally wore colors that were standard for a flapper; beige, cream, sand, navy, black and sand. These colors were often worn on jersey fabric dresses and skirts.
With the rise in hemlines there was also a rise in shoe sales. Dresses of the previous era made it nearly impossible to see what shoes a girl was wearing. However, now that shorter dresses were in style, shoes were in high demand. The fact that shoes could now be mass manufactured helped meet women’s need for shoes.
T bar shoes were the style preferred by women at the time. The name of these shoes comes from the T shaped strap that runs along the top of the wearers foot. These stylish shoes were no lower than 2 inches. They were usually closed toe, but were just as fashionable in the peep toe style. Usually T bar shoes were embellished with some sort of bow or buckle. Wedged heels were another part in the shoes design.
In the twenties if you were caught wearing a Cloche hat you would be considered fashion forward. The Cloche hats made it know that you had short hair because it could only be worn properly with flat short hair. Cloche hats were also considered fashionable because they covered women’s foreheads (having your forehead exposed was considered unfashionable at the time).